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by: Brent Lowe

One way or another we all learn how important a good recruiting process can be. All it takes is one bad hire… or two… or three before we realize the cost of under investing in recruiting. At best, a poor hire adds no value to the team. At worst that person destroys value. They take up the team’s limited time and damage customer relationships.

The most successful teams make recruiting a top priority. Even when they are already drowning in work, they find the time. For teams embracing a philosophy of leading together—such as self-management or decentralized leadership—recruiting takes on even greater importance.

Your team—like every team—will find your own way of recruiting future colleagues. For inspiration, here are five ways progressive organizations break free from traditional recruiting processes.

Deprioritize the résumé

We all have biases. Résumé reviews can enhance those biases. Traditional recruiting practice suggests we read résumés in advance. Not at Michigan-based software consultancy Menlo Innovations. The company hires via large group auditions. The interviewers do not look at résumés in advance. Interviewees get paired during three 20-minute exercises to test culture fit. Those who pass this initial audition get invited back for a full-day interview.

Most people have little experience with—or passion for—creating a résumé. Yet they may have significant knowledge and skills. For example, Menlo has found that hiring people with good “kindergarten skills” is key to their success. Does this individual work well in a team where everyone aims to bring out each other’s genius? Every candidate has a story to tell. Some are better storytellers than others when it comes to résumé writing.

Deprioritize past experience

The primary reason we review résumés is to understand a candidate’s past experience. Studies have proven that past experience is a poor predictor of future performance. Past performance is a much better indicator. An individual’s experience tells us about the environment a candidate has operated in but not how they actually performed. Did they thrive or only survive? Lead together organizations require motivated individuals who have grit, explore with curiosity and negotiate well with colleagues. The book Who offers a series of tools for assessing performance over experience.

Prioritize values alignment

When constructed well, values are the guideposts of an organization. As such, they need to play a critical role in the recruiting process. A great example is community support organization Wellbeing Teams. Wellbeing Teams operates using small, self-managing, neighbourhood-based groups. These groups support people to live well at home in their communities. They use tasks and challenges in their values-based recruitment process with the aim of identifying recruits who have the values, attitudes and aspirations necessary for work in health care. In assessing a candidate’s ability to bring their whole selves to work, they use a human bingo game. The game invites candidates to learn personal and professional information about the interviewers and others they meet along the way. The team gets to see how the candidate responds in turn.

Prioritize transparency

Recruiting can often be a secretive process. The candidate doesn’t know what’s coming next. Once hired, they hear little about any concerns raised during the process. If you are interviewing for a role at UK-based digital agency Deeson, make sure to visit their careers page. There you will find the company’s entire recruiting process. If hired at Percolab, an international co-creation and codesign firm based in Montreal, you’ll experience transparency at its best. Once you join, you’ll gain access to the online channel where the team shared notes about you throughout the recruiting process. It will all be there for you to see.

Why the secrets? In traditional hiring processes, what are we trying to hide? Be bold, be brave, be intentional… be transparent.

Prioritize diversity

Many companies talk about the importance of diversity yet few give it much thought in their recruiting processes. Social media software platform Buffer is an exception. The team at Buffer spends time sculpting a role description that creates a fairer hiring process. They want every candidate assessed for the same skills, traits, values and qualifications. This helps mitigate interviewer bias and enable consistent candidate evaluation. They use Textio—AI software that analyzes language, including job descriptions. It highlights jargon, boring bits and words that could come across as particularly masculine or feminine.  To reach the largest and most diverse talent pool possible, Buffer uses its candidate mailing list of over 15,000 people and its social media channels. They also contact underrepresented groups in its industry, including via diversity-in-tech organizations.

When recruiting for your team, be intentional. Every new joiner shapes the culture of your team. They create—or limit—future potential.

What impact will the next five hires have on your team’s success?

How will they help your company be as vibrant and vital as it can be? 

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